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Cheap chef's kitchen tongs. Every chef in America uses them...why don't you?

Updated on August 24, 2007

All you ever need

An ode to the humble kitchen tongs…not the fancy good grips kitchen tongs, nor to any tongs costing much more than $5.99, but the simple tinny shiny aluminum kitchen tongs seen in just about every professional kitchen in America and the western world; and conversely in astonishingly few home kitchens.

Seriously, these things are great, and for some reason spending more on a pair of tongs almost invariably results in a less easy to use tool; which basically seems to be missing the point. I'm not a great believer in the need for gadgets in the kitchen, and give me a good chef's knife, a few solid pots and pans and a couple of kitchen tongs and I'm feeling very much at home.

The reason that every chef in America uses these inexpensive tools is that they offer better versatility and control than pretty much any thing else on the market…and they cost next to nothing. Forget using the clumsy spatula to turn a massive pork chop in hot oil, risking very scary splashes of hot fat in the process…grab your trusty kitchen tongs and flip that baby with complete control. Need to grab some pasta from the briny boil…it's a cinch. Hungry family members lurking too close to the not yet served plated food…run them out of the kitchen with some menacing snaps of your tongs!

They can really do it all, and once you grow accustomed to their use, you'll never go back to a ridiculously full drawer of spatula style gadgets, needing (craving!) only your cheapo kitchen tongs for all your cooking needs. They don’t last forever, but you'll get a good 6 months to a year out of your few dollar investment, and you'll have been religiously converted by the time that spring finally snaps a few months down the road.

Don’t get seduced by the latest fancy looking pair of $25 dollar tongs, they're not what you want. Find a restaurant supply store and load up on the real deal. Light weight, ugly, simple chef's kitchen tongs.

On another note…what's up with glass cutting boards? Has anyone ever actually chopped vegetables on these without driving themselves mad from the grating noise of steel on glass? And why risk skimming a sharp blade over exposed fingers across a completely unyielding surface? How did these ever come about…and how did they ever become reasonably popular? I think you can be reasonably certain that you will never in the same kitchen find a glass cutting board and a pair of excellent kitchen tongs.


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    • profile image


      3 years ago

      I'm SO glad I found this article, even though it was posted 7 years ago. My wife recently got so upset that I criticized the new tongs she had bought that she threw the new pair in the garbage and fished the old one out of the bottom of the trash can. My favorite, rusty, dollar-store, pair. I would rather use those old, perfect but rusty ugly pair than any of the new fangled contraptions. They have the perfect length, the perfect tension on the spring, are light, and the way the simple, square, slip-ring keeps them shut is so intuitive I do it without thinking most of the time using one hand. The new tongs were too short, had not slip ring, and the tension was so strong I couldn't tell if I was gently squeezing the braut or almost chopping it in half. So hail to the old-school, simple, slip-ring kitchen tongs. (I'll pay good money to a auto body shop to have my old pair re-chromed before I use a new one that IS NOT an improvement).

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      6months to a year?...Been using mine for close to ten years...They are stainless steel I think they were 3.99...

    • basejumper profile image


      8 years ago

      No barbecue without a proper tong!


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